An experience of a “Data Ecosystem”

A journey through my learnings of the world of Data — this article describes how data is treated and consumed in a product organization, and how various professional roles interact with data at various stages of its lifecycle

Data has been a valuable commodity for more than a decade now. It not only has changed the way our civilization is progressing but, has also provided us with a new perspective with which we look at our skill sets and professional growth. For an individual who is beginning to work with data, it is obviously important to understand what data is and how to process and use it. But, it is also important to understand what working with data means, what are its various forms, who uses it and how. Such individuals should be able to identify with what role they play in this ecosystem and whereto can they progress. At the same time, they should also recognise the needs of other people in this ecosystem in order to understand problem statements and create better solutions.

Meet the players of this ecosystem!

While data may be the all-powerful artificial resource of the 21st century, the roles that humans play in this ecosystem are crucial. Let’s see who they are.

Illustration created by the author

Facets of data — How is it perceived?

The various players in a data ecosystem interact with data differently, and this interaction defines how they perceive data and what they do with it. In 2006, when Clive Humby coined the phrase “Data is the new oil”, he drew an unmistakable comparison between the 2 resources. Just like oil goes through various stages like extraction, refining, and storage; some people value data in a crude form, some only make use of the processed form and some just need to understand its characteristics to store and process it.

Interaction with data defines a player’s perception and usage of it. Illustration created by the author.
  1. Patterns & Behaviours — This facet is most relevant to Data Analysts and Scientists. It’s their responsibility to get their hands dirty and find answers that no one knows how to figure out. They study the hidden patterns and consumer behaviours to address the problem statements at hand which are always exploratory and diagnostic in nature. Their work product often contributes to that of the Data Architects and Engineers in the form of the development of new production processes.
  2. Summarised Information — This facet is most important for the decision-making players of the ecosystem. Product Managers and Business Stakeholders perform a variety of operational (day-to-day), as well as strategic (long term) functions with the help of reporting dashboards, outcomes of predictive models, insights from ad-hoc analyses, etc. They depend on these analytical tools to improve the product experience and create value for the consumer and the organization.

What happens with data?

Growing our crop — Generating Data

An essential component of the data ecosystem is the accurate generation of raw data. Consumer apps can have various features and functionalities, branched user experiences, video players, payment gateways, etc. To better understand the user behaviour, it is necessary to capture the right kind of user touchpoints and to do that you have to correctly design your applications event logging architecture. A correctly designed architecture can help you understand precious behavioural information about a large section of your user base; on the other hand, a poorly designed event logging system may cause you to lose out on valuable insights.

Illustration created by the author

Intelligence factories — The Data Platform

Business Intelligence systems have been a crucial part of any company’s decision-making process for quite some time and they have continuously evolved with the evolution of data management and processing technologies. In our ecosystem, a well-architected data platform helps the organization build data-driven strategies and enrich the product offering for our consumers.

Illustration created by the author

Lobbying for Growth — Product Management

A central team of Product Managers and Analysts drives the development and growth of the product from its core. Product Managers work with various aspects of the product — some manage the development of the consumer application, while others manage the growth of business markets and their KPIs. A small group of these managers is responsible for building and driving the data ecosystem by collaborating with engineering teams as well as business stakeholders. Other product managers leverage this ecosystem in order to further strategic roadmaps of their own product components.

Illustration created by the author

“What do the numbers tell us?” — Business Stakeholders

These teams are the primary consumers of all analytical work products generated in our ecosystem. They define strategies around various business/market operations like offline and online marketing for user acquisition and retention, advertising and subscription workflows, content acquisition and programming, etc. They also continuously evaluate the market fit of various product features and how the users are engaging with them. This is important to make sure that the product offerings always stay relevant for its target group.

Illustration created by the author

Source: https://towardsdatascience.com/an-experience-of-a-data-ecosystem-4f86e98fd013